Work is under way to turn the basement of a former town centre bank into a place for music-making.
Volunteers have joined forces with staff at community organisation Global Diversity Positive Action (GDPA) to begin transforming the basement of its premises at Ramsden Street in Huddersfield into a creative hub for music production, photography and art.
It’s the latest phase of development for GDPA, which helps disadvantaged young people not in employment, education or training – as well as young offenders – to find their way in life by creating employment opportunities, promoting social responsibility and developing a culture of lifelong learning.
GDPA, which was founded four years ago by former careers adviser – now businesswoman and magistrate – Sharon Jandu, has already created a cafe and a Microsoft Academy on the ground floor of the building. Since its launch, initially in the Ray Street Enterprise Centre, hundreds of young people have been through its doors.
Trustee Portia Roberts-Popham said: “We now have people learning job skills, learning how to become baristas or undertaking Microsoft courses to gain qualifications and get them ready for the workplace.”
Volunteers from charity The Mitie Foundation and Virgin Media Business are among those supporting GDPA. Others include Yorkshire Bank, Broderick’s – which supplies coffee for the cafe – and the Yorkshire Asian Business Association.
Among its projects, GDPA has worked with Leeds City College to provide young people in Huddersfield with English, maths and learning employability skills; North Huddersfield Trust School on issues including citizenship, the value of education and careers; and Barclays Life Skills on subjects including money management and work-based skills.
Satvir Meen, project director at GDPA, said the group’s work with young offenders aimed to steer them away from re-offending.
Its work also chimed with the findings of the report published by David Lammy MP into why official figures show that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups appear to be over-represented at most stages of the criminal justice system. It concluded that those individuals still faced bias, including overt discrimination, in parts of the justice system.
Satvir said: “We agree with elements of the Lammy Report. We also feel that there is a huge issue around ‘lone parenthood’ and ‘class discrimination’. In our experience, the challenges faced by young people and the breakdown of community cohesion and support is having a massive negative impact. Organisations such as GDPA are here to help – there simply is nowhere else for them to go.”
Satvir and GDPA outreach worker Dominic Mills have been organising a range of workshops including music production, photography, graffiti, literacy/numeracy and positive thinking for young people.
“All this will now take place in the GDPA creative hub,” said Satvir.
Donations to the charity can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting www.globaldiversitypa.com. We have also set up a crowdfunding page at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sharonjandu